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This understanding is important to the story on a number of levels.The most basic is that it helps the reader to understand just what it is that her husband is doing by leaving her.
As the wife of a police detective, she has almost certainly heard many stories about crimes that he has solved and how he has done it.
Finally, this creates many other suspects that could have committed the crime because as a police detective he has many enemies.
This makes it far easier for the reader to be on Mary’s side when she makes questionable decisions.
Early in the story, the reader discovers that Mary Maloney is pregnant.
Is the story told from a first, second, or third person point of view?
"Lamb to the Slaughter" is told from the point of view of Mary Maloney.
This change in narration is disconcerting and in large part that is the point.
This helps the reader to understand the disorientation and detachment of Mary.
This choice to tell the story from the point of view of the murderer is an interesting choice and one that largely defines this story. At times, such as the end of the story, this means that the reader knows more than the other characters, especially in relation to the leg of lamb.
On the other hand, the reader is not given access to the reasoning behind Patrick’s decision to leave.